Fernandez stretched his already considerable margin over the intermediate class field in FP2
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez is the rider to beat after topping both Moto2™ Free Practice sessions on the opening day of the Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland by big margins. He raised the bar by setting a 1:24.023 in FP2, with team-mate Pedro Acosta next-best and Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) making it an all-Spanish top three after the first two sessions for the intermediate class at the Sachsenring. On the other hand, the World Championship leader, Italian Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), is currently a considerable way outside the provisional Q2 cut-off.
Fernandez dominates Friday in Germany
Fernandez was comfortably quickest in FP1, which he finished 0.421 seconds up on the field courtesy of a 1:24.222, and that was still the best lap of the day through much of FP2. In fact, it was only beaten by the man himself with less than 10 minutes to go in the afternoon running when he went almost two tenths of a second faster again. The Red Bull KTM Ajo duo was flying in formation at that moment but when Acosta crossed the line just behind, he was still 0.470 seconds shy of his team-mate’s pace on a 1:24.493, and that was how it stayed for the balance of proceedings.
Earlier, Aldeguer had got somewhat close to the fastest lap of the session when he set a 1:24.501, and that effort would be good enough for third-quickest. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing team) clocked a late 1:24.557 to take up fourth spot and shuffle fellow Briton Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team), who laid down an early 1:24.600, back to fifth. Marcos Ramirez (MV Augusta Forward Racing) was another who did his best work right near the start of FP2, a 1:24.621 earning him sixth on the timesheet, ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Alonso Lopez (MB Conveyors Speed Up), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team), and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team).
Big names staring at Q1
Fine weather is expected again when FP3 unfolds at the Sachsenring, and a number of key players in the World Championship will be hoping to improve in that session in order to skip Q1. Currently 11th-fastest is the man who was runner-up at the Catalan GP a fortnight ago, Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), ahead of Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team), Filip Salac (Gresini Racing Moto2™), and Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40). They would go directly into Q2 as it stands, but cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
Unquestionably, those who do have to find more pace so that they can avoid a tricky situation on Saturday afternoon are the likes of Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda team Asia), and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). Arbolino did not register a lap time in FP1 due to an early crash and the Italian only got up to 16th with a 1:25.058 in FP2, while Chantra and Ogura sit 19th and 21st respectively.
Still, all three are faster than the rider at the very top of the Championship points table, with Vietti 24th on the timesheet at a full 1.467 seconds off the pace after two sessions at the Sachsenring. Meanwhile, following a painful tumble in FP1, Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) was declared fit and now holds 20th position on combined times. Three spots behind him is Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing), who had a spill in FP2 at Turn 1 – rider okay.
Will we see another Vietti rescue job, and can fellow title contender Ogura also dig himself out of trouble? Find out when FP3 kicks off on Saturday at 10:55, then Q1 at 15:10 (GMT +2).
Moto2™ Top 10 on Friday:
1. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 1:24.023
2. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.470
3. Fermín Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) + 0.478
4. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 0.534
5. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.577
6. Marcos Ramirez (MV Agusta Forward Team) + 0.598
7. Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) + 0.610
8. Alonso Lopez (Lightech Conveyors Speed Up) + 0.620
9. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.658
10. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) + 0.673